Crime & Courts

Police: 3 arrested in ‘gruesome’ Anchorage assault on housemate

A man living at a home in South Anchorage told police he was tortured there for hours early Tuesday by three men who are now being held on charges including kidnapping, assault and sexual assault.

Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said in a statement Wednesday that the suspects — 26-year-old Stefan Roggenbuck, 21-year-old Terrence Pete and 20-year-old Damon Clark — were arrested and taken to the Anchorage Correctional Complex. The assault was first reported to police around 5 a.m. Tuesday, when they responded to a hospital where the victim was being treated.

"The victim described being struck multiple times with a baseball bat and fists, tied up with rope, strangled, burned, cut with wire cutters and sexually assaulted," police wrote in a statement. "The assault was perpetrated by three persons who stay at the residence with the victim."

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Police spoke with five residents of the home, including the defendants.

"This was a very violent and gruesome incident," said Anchorage Police Department communications director Jennifer Castro.

In an affidavit supporting the charges against the three men, APD officer Jade Baker said the victim was a 20-year-old man who had been living at the home on Vernon Street for about three weeks. The man told police he had known the homeowner since he was young; he had known Pete for about three years and Clark for two years.

According to the victim, he came home Monday night and took a nap. He stepped outside at about 1 a.m. Tuesday and returned to find Clark and Pete offering to smoke marijuana with him.

Soon afterward, he told police, the two became confrontational and began to attack him. He said Pete hit him with a baseball bat before Clark approached him as well.

"(The victim) reported that Clark told him, 'It didn't have to be like (this), but you chose this,' " Baker wrote. "(The victim) said that he was thrown off by this because he hadn't had any problems with anyone in the residence prior to that. He stated that Clark then accused him of stealing twenty dollars from him."

The victim said Clark then struck him in the legs with a pole 2 to 3 feet long. He told investigators he asked Clark to stop and tried to deflect the blows with his hands, but they were "very painful" and brought him to the ground. While he was down, Pete cut his earlobe with a wire cutter and Clark tied up his neck, ankles and wrists with a rope, the affidavit said.

The victim told police that at various times during the ensuing ordeal, he was burned by a cigarette, gagged with a rope, sexually assaulted and had hot sauce put into his eyes and nose.

Only after all that was he untied, the victim told investigators.

"Clark told the others, 'I think he gets our point now,' " Baker wrote. "Pete then stated, 'I didn't get to do what I wanted but I still had some fun.' (The victim) reported that Clark then cut the ropes off of him and told him, 'If you tell anyone about this I will kill you.' He stated that as he was leaving, Pete went through his pockets and then let him go."

The victim took a cab to the hospital, where he was able to report the crime.

One of the two Vernon Street residents not charged by police had a video of part of the assault on his cellphone, which he allowed a detective to watch Tuesday morning. The resident told police he hadn't seen or heard the assault, and that his phone had been borrowed to record the video, the affidavit said.

"(The victim) can be seen bound with rope, hands in front of his chest," the detective wrote.

Baker said the homeowner told police that the victim hadn't been there in several days. After the video emerged, however, she told police she had lied during her first interview and that the victim was suspected of stealing from other residents, the affidavit said.

"(The resident) said that 'the guys' decided to confront (the victim) about his lies and stealing," Baker wrote.

Baker said a forensic medical examination of the victim showed marks from bindings on his neck and throat, a cigarette burn to his lower leg, cuts to his left leg and left earlobe and an abrasion to his forehead. He also had bruises to his "back, legs, wrists, ears, face, mouth and perineum."

Pete was held on one count each of kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault, and four counts of second-degree assault. Clark was charged with kidnapping, second-degree assault and third-degree assault, while Roggenbuck was charged with first-degree sexual assault and fourth-degree assault.